Ground work must be laid, a foundation, before any house can be built. In the kitchen, the flavor foundation for so many dishes is found in the French mirepoix (meer-pwah), the holy trinity of aromatics: onion, carrot, and celery.

Broths, and therefore soups, of every sort begin with the coaxing of flavor from a mirepoix. A chicken submerged in water becomes something incredibly good when cooked for a few hours with mirepoix and a bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaf). The chop of your mirepoix will depend on what you’re making–the finer the chop, the more surface-area and flavor. For stock, we typically do a 1- to 2-inch coarse chop because it’s cooked for such a long time and it has to hold together.

The Italians have their own base and call it soffrito. Lebanese brothy soups also start with mirepox, then take their special flavor from a bay leaf and another ingredient that delights as much as it surprises the palate…(you don’t mind a little surprise in your week, do you? Stay tuned.).

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